"Once, at the Citadel, I came into an empty room and saw an empty chair. Yet I knew a woman had been there, only a moment before. The cushion was dented where she'd sat, the cloth was still warm, and her scent lingered in the air. If we leave our smells behind us when we leave a room, surely something of our souls must remain when we leave this life?"
— Qyburn, A Song of Ice and Fire
"Hi. I'm Peter. Where are you from? Originally."
— Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters (1984)
"I was afraid of death. I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't to have...well, that is neither here nor there..in fact, I am neither here nor there. I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead."
— Sir Nicholas, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
"They surround us all the time. Most of them can't hurt us. Most don't even want to hurt us. But there are exceptions."
— Dennis, Thir13en Ghosts
"Let's cut out all the loaded words: ghost, spook, apparition, phantom. This isn't some shade that couldn't get into Heaven because the Pearly Gates were shut. This is something else. Something interesting."
— Peter Brock, The Stone Tape
When I swam alone that night, late summer dusk
The air so warm and still, the water wide and dark
Something brushed against me, I splashed and kicked in fright
Such cold hands upon me, underwater vines
Were you with me then, my friend? Are you with me now?
— "My Friend" by The Handsome Family
"Get your hands off our duly elected leader, you odd manifestation of ectoplasmic energy and post-human consciousness!"
— Maddie Fenton, Danny Phantom
"Wait, you are dead? I have not seen such episode."
"You don't need to die to become dead.
— Captain Bomb while possessing Walo, Blok Ekipa
"When a corpse is left out, the elements wither it, desiccate it, twisting it into a distorted figure that's barely recognizable as a human being. A ghost is an emotion bent out of shape, condemned to repeat itself, time and time again, until it rights the wrong that was done."
— Louise, Mama
Echoes are universal, sounding off the bat lips of reality. We visit the intangibles. Some intangibles are less intangible than others. Ripped from life by violent events that their perspectives deems unfair (SPOILER, sweetling, the universe does not agree), spectres abide timeless wretchedness between worlds. There is no respite in their endless search for warmth.
What shackles the dead to the land of the quick varies. Some are spiteful, too mean and malignant to let go. Some died so tragically or quickly that they do not realize they ever perished. Some are less sapient, just human-shaped trauma scars in reality. Some thirst for revenge or closure or stranger passions. And some are held in place by the necromantic machinations of the wicked living...
—The Buzzing, The Secret World